13 Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers


In the past few years, Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday.  I love cooking for my family and friends, and what better way to do so than with one big turkey-based feast on a holiday entirely centered on food and the Little Things?

This year, we’re extending the celebration by a day, with a Use Your Leftovers party.  My friends and I will all gather together with our leftover turkey, potatoes, vegetables and gravies to create some revamped dishes.  Here are some recipes we may be using:


Turkey Causa

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: Serves 1-2

Turkey Causa

This recipe is inspired by our meal at Andina in Portland, Oregon this spring. Though traditionally made with tuna, this causa is made with leftover turkey. It can also be made with leftover roasted chicken.


  • 1 cup shredded turkey or chicken
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced


  1. Mix the turkey with the mayonnaise and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. To keep the causa perfectly round, remove the top and bottom of an aluminum can, such as the kind you get canned tomatoes or pumpkin puree in, and create the layers within the can. Otherwise, you can free-form the layering.
  3. Create a disc of 1/2 of the mashed potatoes. Top with a few slices of avocado. Layer the chicken salad on top, followed by the rest of the mashed potatoes. Top with more avocado and serve cold.


Turkey Tetrazzini

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 12

Turkey Tetrazzini

This is my lightened-up version of an old family recipe. The cream of chicken soup called for in the original is replaced here with leftover Thanksgiving gravy, though you can certainly make your own pan gravy to enjoy this at any other time of year.


  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large leek, sliced crosswise
  • 4 cups button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cups turkey, shredded
  • 3 cups gravy
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 325F and grease a 9x13" baking pan.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leek and mushroom and stir to coat with the butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and the edges are browned.
  4. Toss the pasta with the vegetables and turkey.
  5. Whisk the gravy and yogurt together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the gravy over the pasta and stir until everything is covered with the gravy. Turn the tetrazzini into the greased baking pan and sprinkled with grated Parmesan.
  7. Bake at 325F for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and bubbly.

Baked Chicken Taquitos*

Barbecue Chicken Enchiladas*

Butternut Turkey Risotto

Cassoulet with White Beans, Sausage and Turkey

Chicken Noodle Soup*

Ecuadoran Potato Cakes with Peanut Sauce

Leftover Pocket Pies

Spicy Cream Cheese and Chicken Enchiladas*

Thirty Minute White Bean and Chicken Soup*

Turkey, Brie, Pear an Cherry Chipotle Panini

Turkey Potato Soup

* Use turkey instead of chicken to make these Thanksgiving-leftovers-friendly.